X is probably 2014’s one of the most important records. Ed Sheeran’s ability as a musician soars in this innovative album. After “Thinking Out Loud” slayed the charts all over the world, Sheeran now reinvents “Bloodstream,” a follow-up to his string of hits from X. This guitar-tinged pop song showcases Sheeran’s crystal clear voice, and emphasizes his knack in immersing himself to the song he sings. In many cases, Sheeran does not only sing a song. He becomes one with the song. “Bloodstream,” in any way, is a strong evidence to this argument.
It was reported that Sheeran wrote “Bloodstream” after taking MDMA, a psychoactive chemical that has therapeutic benefits. If indeed this drug inspired Sheeran to write the song, then the effects extend to the listeners as “Bloodstream” stays in the senses even after weeks from the first listen. Now remastered, the song even becomes more powerful. For sure, it will stay in people’s consciousness even longer. Honestly, “Bloodstream” is an addictive track adorned with a melody that is interestingly both haunting and delightful, at the same time.
On another note, “Bloodstream” could possibly explain why Sheeran is such a hit these days. First, he never sings strikingly similar songs. Though “Thinking Out Loud,” which still sits at number two on the Billboard Hot 100, was such a huge hit, Sheeran did not use another romantic song as his next single. “Bloodstream” is a bold move for Sheeran, because the song is an unlikely song given that it is a deviation from his boy-next-door good guy image.
Nonetheless, it is certain that this song will be well received even by fans, because it only goes to show that Sheeran’s artistry is not boxed in any mold. “So tell me when it kicks in,” Sheeran sings. Why yes, it is finally kicking in. The song is another triumph for him, as it has a large hit written all over it.
Lyrically, the song is an expression of artistic dissonance between delusion and reality. The social construction of happiness is being challenged here, as Sheeran talks about the conventions of being blissful amidst all the turmoils – both personal and social – the world traps people into. Armed with the perfect amount of lyrical superiority, Sheeran masterfully sings his way into the consciousness of the listeners. The result is astounding – a musical legacy in the tradition of all great songs from the past that expose a critical confusion about happiness and heartbreak.